How Do We Get Energy From Water

How Do We Get Energy From Water – Water and energy are combined in a so-called water and energy unit. To meet the challenge of providing clean water, we need to develop technologies that remove these links. However, there are gaps in our basic knowledge that prevent us from doing so. Several new energy frontier research centers are working to fill these gaps, resulting in breakthrough technologies for connecting water to energy. Credit: M-WET EFRC, Rahul Sujanani and Nathan Johnson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

With the progress of civilization, mankind is faced with the lack of clean water and energy. These two challenges are among the most important challenges we face because solving them can reduce other problems such as food insecurity, poverty and health. Water and energy are linked in a relationship known as the water-energy relationship; Treatment of large volumes of water requires a lot of energy, and energy production requires a lot of fresh water. About 2.5 percent of Earth’s water is fresh water, and even less is available, exacerbating water scarcity.

How Do We Get Energy From Water

How Do We Get Energy From Water

To support humanity, we must use non-conventional sources of water that contain pollutants, using effective separation systems. President John F. Kennedy began the process in the 1960s. “If we can compete and extract fresh water from salt water at a lower cost, it will be a long-term benefit to humanity that will really influence further scientific advances.”

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JFK’s efforts led to a major breakthrough in desalination (removing salt from brackish water) in the 1960s and 1970s with the advent and commercialization of high-performance polymer membranes. Porous membranes of various types are ubiquitous in water treatment plants because they effectively separate or “filter” salt, bacteria, and other major contaminants. For example, a membrane process called reverse osmosis can remove salt from seawater using less energy than competing technologies.

Despite such progress, much remains to be done to solve the hydropower problem. Salivary membranes in particular have not changed significantly over the last 40 years. There is a significant need for systems that can treat wastewater at various levels while being energy efficient. Furthermore, achieving high molecular selectivity is a pioneering field because it is difficult to filter out contaminants of similar size and chemical reactions.

The US Department of Energy is firmly committed to addressing these challenges by funding three new Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs): Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems (AMEWS), the Center for Advanced Nanofluid Transportation (CENT), and the Water and Materials Center for Systems Energy (M- WET). These EFRCs form strong multidisciplinary teams. Each center has launched research programs in recent months aimed at filling the gaps in the basic science needed for a paradigm shift in energy-efficient treatment of contaminated water.

Scientists from AMEWS focused on water-solid interfaces. “Interfaces are an integral part of almost every scientific water treatment challenge because most of the work takes place there, regardless of the system used,” said Seth B. Darling, director of AMEWS. The problem underlying this work occurs when unwanted material accumulates on a surface that interferes with its function. In water treatment, this means that a membrane or similar device such as a coffee filter or drain plug is surrounded by a “gun” that slows the flow of water until it passes. AMEWS researchers seek to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying processes to ultimately help develop materials that can minimize defects.

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The AMEWS project aims to answer the following important questions regarding the water-solid interface: What interactions cause specific pollutants to adsorb or stick to a specific interface and can this be used for selective adsorption? How do chemical catalysts interact with solutes at the interface and can they be used to actively remove or degrade contaminants? How are molecules and ions transported across the interfaces in the pores that are now covered by the pores? How to get quality vehicles?

The main goal of his basic research is to advance the science necessary for the construction of new generation materials. For example, their world-leading expertise in proprietary techniques allows them to manage the interface in a manageable and customizable way. Using these techniques, AMEWS can design interfaces that minimize errors and have high selectivity.

Advanced Materials for Water-Energy Systems (AMEWS) EFRC researchers work on water-solid interfaces or contaminants in real-time treatment facilities. Further rigorous research in this area could help alleviate critical operational challenges that hinder productivity or pave the way for next-generation sensors, sorbents, catalysts and membranes.

How Do We Get Energy From Water

Darling notes that attacking a big problem like water treatment requires a synergistic approach. “We need to combine all the important ingredients – synthesis to create new materials, advanced characterization to explore their emerging properties, and complex models to interpret the data and enable informed design. The EFRC brings all these people together and enables research to be carried out at a level that a single researcher could never achieve. “AMEWS scientists are excited about the opportunity to advance this field and hope that the Darling Center’s work with early-stage scientists will help identify new leaders in water treatment.

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CENT scientists study the flow of liquids in very small nanopores. Mark Reed, who leads the CENT work on molecular selectivity, said: “When nanofluidic channels shrink, we see strange behavior in many ways. One example is highly selective media, which are very useful in filtration systems used in water treatment. The center’s team is studying single-digit nanopores (SDN) with a diameter of less than 10 nanometers, in other words ten thousand times thinner than a strand of human hair.

“Single-site nanopores are promising for the development of next-generation separation materials because they exhibit remarkable properties such as ion selectivity comparable to biological ion channels,” said Zuzanna Sivy, manager of ion correlation and resolution at CENT. Biological ion channels are thousands of times more selective than conventional membranes. The main problem? “The physics of transport in these systems is poorly understood,” Sivy said. Researchers at the center want to improve this understanding by answering key questions including: Can flow mechanisms in very small pores be explained, quantified and predicted? How do ions and liquids arrange themselves in SDN? What underlies the excellent ion and molecular selectivity in SDN?

The Center for Advanced Transport of Nanofluids (CENT) is interested in studying the behavior of fluids in very small pores (single digit nanopores). High molecular selectivity is observed at these restricted sites, but the physics of this phenomenon is still poorly understood. The goal of the CENT project is to advance this concept to rationalize and predict transport in any nanopore system that can be used to revolutionize the way pollutants are removed from water.

CENTRAL does not focus on specific materials, but is ultimately a fundamental concept that can predict transport in any nanopore system. “We want to understand the physics of transport in confined spaces, such as those found in small pores, and imagine that our knowledge can then be applied to many materials,” said Alexander Noy, who leads CENT’s research on the emerging confinement effect. change the way we treat water. “One of the main goals of CENT is to create a scientific basis for transport in SDN, which will enable the rational design of technology for the separation of variable molecules.

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Commenting on his EFRC membership, Reed said, “We learn a lot by working with the best people in the world, but the biggest part is the new discoveries and new ideas that can really move the field forward. this is only possible with the cooperation and collaboration provided by the EFRC. “

The goal of the M-WET team is to discover and understand the scientific basis needed to develop new membrane materials for water treatment. Existing membranes show a specific trade-off between permeability (penetration) and selectivity (separation efficiency), suffer from large errors, have difficulty distinguishing between similarly charged ions (e.g. Na+ and Li+) and remove inert impurities (e.g. have).

As a result, current membranes are unsuitable for the treatment of heavily polluted water sources such as energy-related activities (e.g. water produced in the oil industry). M-WET scientists also see this as an exciting opportunity because this water may contain large amounts of valuable resources such as lithium. However, to take advantage of these opportunities, M-WET Director Benny D. Freeman said, “New materials with high permeability, high selectivity and resistance to impurities need to be developed for water treatment at various levels. Recover valuable resources using less energy. “

How Do We Get Energy From Water

To achieve this goal, M-WET researchers investigate fundamental science questions, including: How do solutes interact with surfaces of varying degrees of hydration, and can hydration be adjusted to control adsorption?

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